Claude Monet (Rouen Cathedral)

Author Hermione Cameron is, as I am writing this, walking in bitterly cold weather from London to Monte Carlo to raise funds for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) in memory of her husband Steve who died recently. A couple of days ago Hermione had reached the city of Rouen in Normandy where she visited the Cathedral.

In the 1890's Monet created a series of thirty paintings of Rouen Cathedral. The series captures the façade of the cathedral at different times of the day and year, and reflects changes in its appearance under different lighting conditions.

Historically, the series was well timed. In the early 1890s, France was seeing a religious revival and the subject was well received. Apart from its religious significance, Rouen Cathedral, built in the Gothic style, represented all that was best in French history and culture, being a style of architecture that was admired and adopted by the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages.

When Monet painted the Rouen Cathedral series, he had long since been impressed with the way light imparts to a subject a distinctly different character at different times of the day and the year, and as atmospheric conditions change. For Monet, the effects of light on a subject became as important as the subject itself. A selection of the Rouen series is shown below.